In the Matter of Kevin Cahoon
October 24, 2007
The State Ethics Commission and Kevin Cahoon enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).
On July 25, 2007, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(a), into possible violations of the conflict-of-interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Cahoon . The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on September 21, 2007, found reasonable cause to believe that Cahoon violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Cahoon now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Findings of Fact
1. During the relevant period, Cahoon was the Wellfleet Department of Public Works (DPW) assistant director.
2. In 2005, a used chipper was donated to the town. If new, the chipper would have had a value of approximately $1,000. The chipper, however, was in need of repair. The DPW performed minor maintenance in the form of painting, sharpening the blades, and purchasing a new gas tank for the chipper. The total cost for these services and parts was approximately $200. Once repaired, the chipper was operable.
3. In 2006, the DPW purchased a new, larger chipper.
4. In October 2006, Cahoon took the used chipper to his home after obtaining permission from his superior.
5. Cahoon used the used chipper at his home for tree-clearing work.
6. In April 2007, the Wellfleet police asked Cahoon about the used chipper. Cahoon acknowledged that he had the used chipper at home and had only intended to borrow it.
7. Cahoon returned the used chipper to the town in late April 2007, and the machine is now stored in a town shed.
8. Cahoon has since resigned from his DPW position.
Conclusions of Law
9. As the Wellfleet DPW assistant director, Cahoon was a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(g).
10. Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, knowingly or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
11. The private possession and use of the town's used chipper was an unwarranted privilege.
12. This unwarranted privilege was of substantial value because it provided Cahoon with the free use of town equipment for six months which was a benefit with a value of more than $50.
13. This unwarranted privilege was not available to similarly situated individuals.
14. Cahoon used his position as DPW assistant director to take possession of and make free use of the chipper.
15. Accordingly, Cahoon violated s. 23(b)(2) by knowingly or with reason to know using his official position to obtain private possession and free personal use of a town chipper, thereby securing for himself an unwarranted privilege of substantial value that was not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Cahoon, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and conditions agreed to by Cahoon:
(1) that Cahoon pay to the Commission the sum of $500 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A; and
(2) that Cahoon waive all rights to contest the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a party.
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
/s/David A. Wilson
Acting Executive Director
October 24, 2007
October 4, 2007
I, Kevin Cahoon , have personally read the above Disposition Agreement. I understand that it is a public document and that by signing it, I will have agreed to all of the terms and conditions therein including payment of $500 to the State Ethics Commission.
October 4, 2007